2023 All-Star Fan Vote candidates for Metropolitan Division debated

The 2023 Honda All-Star Fan Vote presented by Guaranteed Rate is open and runs through Jan. 17.

The fan vote will result in two skaters and a goalie being added to the rosters for each division for the 2023 NHL Honda All-Star Game at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida, on Feb. 4 (3 pm ET; ABC, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS).

The first eight players per division were selected by the NHL hockey operations department and announced Jan. 5.

While fans ponder their selections, NHL.com writers are providing and debating their picks for one player they would add. Today, our writers debate their picks for the Metropolitan Division.

[RELATED: 2023 NHL All-Star Game coverageAll-Star fan vote]

Jesper BrattNew Jersey Devils

It’s about time Bratt was given his due. He’s one of the fastest, most skillful and creative players not only on the Devils but in the Metropolitan Division. He’s become that player, with Jack Hughes, who can bring you out of your seat when he collects the puck in open ice. He’s a point guard at even strength and on the power play, capable of weaving his way around the perimeter with sick stickhandling maneuvers as he navigates his way to the best scoring opportunity. Bratt needs to be given a chance in this game because he is one of the most underrated and dynamic playmakers in the NHL. –Mike G. Morreale, staff writer

Video: NYR@NJD: Bratt blasts one-time PPG from the circle

Brent BurnsCarolina Hurricanes

This All-Star Game is made for Burns, the Hurricanes defenseman. I mean, come on, there could be alligators and snakes involved since it’s being played so close to Florida’s Everglades. Burns could bring his own collection of wild animals as part of the show, and that’s only why it makes so much sense for him off the ice. He’s earned it with his play on the ice in his first season with the Hurricanes after being traded to Carolina by the San Jose Sharks on July 13. He’s been creative and powerful offensively, stout and strong defensively, a driving force in Carolina’s leadership group, a character who brings tons of character and is all about camaraderie and fun as long as the job is getting done. Burns has clearly been energized by the trade to a contender and he’s playing like it. But, again, Florida, the everglades, the beach, reptiles, someone get Burns a ticket to this All-Star Game. –Dan Rosen, senior writer

Video: CAR@PHI: Burns buries a one-timer for overtime winner

Travis KonecnyPhiladelphia Flyers

Konecny ​​has been the biggest beneficiary of the arrival of John Tortorella as coach. The forward has scored 20 goals for the first time since 2019-20 (24 in 66 games), but even more than that, his engagement level and game-to-game consistency seems to be the highest it’s been in his seven NHL seasons. On a team that has struggled to produce offensively at times, Konecny ​​has managed to use his speed and tenacity to consistently create scoring opportunities for himself and his linemates. After Konecny ​​was benched for a period during a 3-0 loss to the Sharks on Oct. 23, he clearly has earned the trust of the coaching staff — not an easy thing to do with Tortorella — and has become a dependable player used in all situations. That includes penalty killing, which Konecny ​​is doing for the first time in the NHL. He played in the 2020 NHL All-Star Game, but now, at 25 years old, he is having his best season and is deserving of being with the best of the best in Florida. — Adam Kimelman, deputy managing editor

Video: ARI@PHI: Konecny ​​tallies a PPG to tie the game

Ilya SorokinNew York Islanders

Sorokin has proven himself to be one of the best goalies in the NHL over the past two seasons and it would be fun to see him share the Metropolitan Division net with fellow Russia-born goalie, and friend, Igor Shesterkin of the rival New York Rangers. Although the Islanders still rely on their defensive structure, they have been a more aggressive team offensively under first-year coach Lane Lambert and that’s put more stress on Sorokin, who continues to excel. That makes him the perfect goalie to handle the wide-open play in the 3-on-3 tournament at the All-Star Game. The goalies are often an afterthought in these high-scoring affairs, but Sorokin deserves the recognition he’d get by representing the Islanders in Florida. — Tom Gulitti, staff writer

Video: NYI@COL: Sorokin turns away Makar in overtime

Mika ZibanejadNew York Rangers

I was at Madison Square Garden the night of March 5, 2020, an eyewitness from press row when Zibanejad scored five goals, including the winner in overtime, to help the Rangers defeat the Washington Capitals 6-5 and earn national attention as a legit No 1 center, something the Rangers were lacking for years. That narrative was put away for good. Zibanejad led the Rangers with 24 points during their run to the 2022 Eastern Conference Final and is virtually unstoppable when he’s on his game. He was voted a first-time All-Star last year but decided not to attend because of personal reasons. The time is right for him to be honored again and further showcase his no longer underrated ability. — Jon Lane, staff writer

Video: NYR@FLA: Zibanejad buries one-timer from the circle


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